Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
FILE - Eva May Densley, 1, reaches around her mother Michelle Densley's back for Pamela Atkinson at the YWCA Utah facility in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. After visiting with several formerly homeless veterans on Wednesday, Gov. Gary Herbert encouraged Utahns to donate to the Pamela Atkinson Homeless Trust Fund on their 2018 Utah state tax returns.

SALT LAKE CITY — After visiting with several formerly homeless veterans on Wednesday, Gov. Gary Herbert encouraged Utahns to donate to the Pamela Atkinson Homeless Trust Fund on their 2018 Utah state tax returns.

New this year, Utahns can also donate online at jobs.utah.gov/htf.

Herbert and Atkinson, a community advocate, toured Freedom Landing, meeting with several residents who had been homeless and now live in the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City’s 109-unit permanent supportive housing facility.

“Veterans are more likely to experience homelessness than civilians, and we need to do our part to help break that cycle,” Herbert said.

According to the 2018 Point-in-Time Count, an annual state data collection effort required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, there were 222 veterans experiencing homelessness in Utah on that one night. A total of 2,876 people were found to be homeless statewide. During the course of the year, approximately 15,000 Utahns experience homelessness for some amount of time.

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“Having a safe place to stay makes a world of difference for someone experiencing homelessness,” said Atkinson. “Your donations help support these housing opportunities and other services that can literally save lives.”

Herbert said when Utahns donate to the Pamela Atkinson Homeless Trust Fund on their state tax form, they are helping to critical services for vulnerable homeless populations. All of the donated funds are distributed to agencies statewide that provide vital resources for those who are experiencing homelessness.

In addition, the homeless trust fund is leveraged with other state funding to provide the maximum impact for emergency services, supportive services, and housing services.